Stop-out experiences of part-time and fluidly enrolled, low-income, first-generation community college women
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This study addresses the need to better understand community college students' varied enrollment behaviors and experiences in the context of the national college completion agenda, current research, and retention theory. The purpose of this study was to explore the stop-out experiences of part-time and fluidly enrolled, low-income, first-generation community college women pursuing transfer degrees. This qualitative study employed an interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) methodological framework and a social constructivist epistemology. Primary data were collected through semi-structured interviews with six participants. Critical incident reporting and document review supplemented interviewing. The study's conceptual framework consisted of Astin's (1993) Input-Environment-Output (I-E-O) model, intersectionality, and retention and persistence theories. IPA and trajectory analysis techniques revealed participants' educational trajectories and three major findings. Situated within the I-E-O framework, participants described their stop-out experiences as involving (a) complex inputs that changed over time; (b) influential noncampus environments, validating campus environments, and marginalizing campus environments; and (c) stopping out as a necessary break to persist. This study unveiled the need to expand Astin's I-E-O model to account for stopping out as a nontraditional enrollment pattern. An expanded I-E-O model was proposed, as well as recommendations on institutional practices to support students who stop out.
Universities and colleges
Student affairs services